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Microinteractions by Dan Saffer

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Chapter 6. Putting It All Together

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On a cold Boston night in February 2008, Leah Busque and her husband realized their dog Kobe was out of dog food. They were headed out to dinner and a cab was even on its way, but the dog needed to be fed. She thought, “Wouldn’t it be nice to go somewhere online and say, ‘We need dog food,’ name a price we’d be willing to pay, and find someone in our neighborhood, maybe at the store that very moment, who could help us?” Before the cab had even arrived, she’d bought the domain name RunMyErrand.com.[43]

RunMyErrand eventually became the startup TaskRabbit, with Busque as its founder and CEO. TaskRabbit lets people locally outsource the small chores they don’t want to do like donating old clothes or buying dog food. By 2011, TaskRabbit had millions in funding, 35 employees, and was generating $4 million USD in business every month.

At the heart of TaskRabbit is a microinteraction: telling potential “TaskRabbits” what task needs doing so that the TaskRabbits can bid on the fee for doing it. Specifying the task that needs to be done is the microinteraction. The entire service rests on this one crucial, yet potentially unexciting, step. At first, this microinteraction was a very text-heavy form, where users would have to write out their tasks in some detail (see Figure 6-1). But in 2011, after the team had designed their simpler mobile app, they realized ...

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